UAE: Heat alert to be launched in 2024 as climate change gets worse

'Many of us have noticed the unforeseen heat waves and sandstorms more than ever before, in the last two years,' says official

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Nandini Sircar

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Photo: KT file
Photo: KT file

Published: Wed 6 Dec 2023, 7:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 7 Dec 2023, 8:47 AM

Unprecedented heat waves in the last couple of years in the UAE are prompting the Abu Dhabi government to launch a heat alert in 2024.

This it according to a top executive from the Abu Dhabi government’s leadership, who shed light on her department’s agenda along with several others, as part of the capital’s Climate Change Strategy at COP 28 on Wednesday.

Photos by Nandini
Photos by Nandini

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi (EAD), said “We all have to work together to address climate change. Here in the UAE and specifically in Abu Dhabi we are at the receiving end of the global impact. Many of us have noticed the unforeseen heat waves and sandstorms more than ever before, in the last two years.”

She added, “Environment stewardship has been with us for many decades. So, this is not new to us. Our founding father has been conscious of conserving and protecting the environment and we’ve had many initiatives to tackle climate change, desertification, blue carbon.”

The emirate plans to deliver a 22 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2027 (which is equivalent to sequestration by 500 million trees over 10 years) in support of the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.

Matar Saeed Al Nuaimi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC) said, “We have a number of initiatives. One of them is the heat alert which will hopefully be launched next year. By creating procedures we can create action plans to mitigate the impact of environmental factors on human beings.”

Through various strategies, critical sectors such as infrastructure, energy, environment, and health will be enhanced to ensure not only business continuity but also climate resilience and agility.

Making informed choices

Chairman of the Department of Energy, Awaidha Murshed Ali Al Marar said, “I believe I am among those who contribute to CO2 emissions at a personal level. I think it's crucial for everyone to recognise this fact. Acknowledging our individual contributions is significant because it influences our actions, whether at an individual or household level.”

“We craft policies to ensure continuous security and supply of two vital resources, water and electricity. Additionally, our goals are to maintain affordability and prioritize environmental friendliness.”

‘A crop for every drop’

Meanwhile, Saeed Al Bahri Salem Al Ameri, Director General of Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority, explained the various methods involved in his department leverage scientific approaches.

He said, “Climate is at the heart of agriculture. Anything we do is directly related to climate. We have no choice but to work with the climate and for the climate to produce any food in this part of the world. It’s a very harsh environment.”

“We can do that by using science and by using the right techniques. We have launched the agricultural genomics programme that aims to facilitate the breeding of resilient plants and animals capable of thriving in challenging conditions while maximizing output with minimal resources. Embracing precision agriculture instead of flood irrigations is crucial for our farms, aiming to optimize water usage to yield a crop for every drop in Abu Dhabi. Additionally, post-harvest technologies and practices would make sure that we reduce any waste from farms to the fork. These are some of the initiatives that we are working on in the capital very seriously,” added Ameri.

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